Carmel Fire Report Includes Evidence of Negligence, Says State Comptroller

Micha Lindenstrauss tells Knesset that the stinging report will be submitted within two weeks.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss announced Monday that a draft of the report on the massive blaze that scorched the Carmel Region late last year will be submitted to the people under investigation within one to two weeks.

According to Lindenstrauss, the evidence presented in the report “points to very serious negligence, which I will not detail here. The evidence in the draft is very serious, in you understand my meaning.”

carmel fire report - Itzik Ben-Malki / Michal Fattal
Itzik Ben-Malki / Michal Fattal

A staff of 30, the largest team of investigators that was assembled in the country’s history, labored to prepare the report in recent months. Boaz Anar of the Comptroller’s office said that one of the central issues studied was internal inquiries conducted by the various bodies, in comments made Monday at the State Control Committee meeting.

“We are checking to see if these inquiries are serious or only technical. Every moment from the time that blaze broke out until the bus burned is documented,” he said, referring to the bus of full of Prison Service cadets that died in the fire.

“We studied what took place, and the orders that were given, what did they do when they received instructions, and how did they fulfilled their commands?” said Anar. “The after-the-fact inquiries are very serious.”

Just after the blaze that occurred in early December 2010, the State Control Committee charged the State Comptroller with investigating the actions of the various bodies before and after the blaze. Lindenstrauss announced in early January that the investigation would include the involvement of the Finance Ministry and the financing of the firefighting forces.

Some of the criticism in the Comptroller’s report focused on the readiness of the national firefighting services, who are the responsibility of the Interior Ministry. The comptroller also studied whether the readiness of the firefighters was influenced by external concerns, such as political interests and salary demands.